MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Children’s Minnesota is the only level-one trauma center in Minnesota to care exclusively for children.

It may be the last place you’d associate with fun, but the Children’s Minnesota-Minneapolis campus is full of surprises.

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Eriq “The Dude” Nelson and Seth Kanne put together 11 in-house shows a week for the hospital’s Star Studio.

“It’s an alternative to Nickelodeon, Disney Channel, stuff like that and its specifically geared toward our unique population of patients and families,” said Kanne, Star Studio’s Program Manager. “We offer something that’s unique, and I think we do pediatric television better than anyone else in the world here at Children’s Minnesota.”

Nelson is the star of the Star Studio.

“I’m a cross between Mr. Rogers, Wayne’s World, and I get a lot of Ryan Gosling,” he said, with a chuckle. “When they come to Star Studio, I treat them like kids, knowing they are patients and having that sensitivity but kids should always be treated as kids and I think that there’s a lot of healing in that as well.”

While healing is the goal at Children’s, they also know that laughter is sometimes the best medicine.

But the Star Studio is not the only thing that makes Children’s unique.

They’re known for their cardiology, cancer care and level-one trauma center. There are two hospitals; the Minneapolis campus is connected to the Mother Baby Center, the St. Paul campus connects to United Hospital.

“Children’s Minnesota is an independent nonprofit children’s healthcare system and we do not turn a child away. Everyone who seeks care at Children’s Minnesota receives it and that is made possible by our donors,” said Jennifer Soderholm, President of the Children’s Minnesota Foundation.

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The hospital covers all bills for patients who aren’t able pay, and works to support the parents with other costs as well.

“It can be as simple as food vouchers, it may help families with parking, it also can help families with making a rent or mortgage payment,” added Soderholm.

Donations allow the nonprofit health system to cater their care to the entire family, and fuel programs like the Star Studio.

The hospital serves about 138,000 patients a year. As a nonprofit they depend on donations to help provide critical care and specialized services to kids.


For the next month, WCCO is teaming up with Children’s Minnesota. Anything you can give will go to good use.

Children’s Minnesota says $50 can provide a week of meals for a family, while $125 can pay for counseling services for patients and families as they deal with a diagnosis.

Right now, your donation will be doubled thanks to Securian Financial.

The company is matching any donation up to $10,000.

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To give, you can text “MN Brighter to 50155” or just head to WCCO.com/Brighter.

Susan-Elizabeth Littlefield